Creating delectable looking food and drink items in solid modeling software like SolidWorks may not be your routine, but it is possible and if you ever need to drench either with dew or a generous amount of condensation, there’s a quick, painless, highly repetitive (click, click, click) method for applying water droplets to the surfaces of your object. Dries Vervoort introduced his method for taking on such a detailed-oriented task on the KeyShot forums providing both the step-by-step and the 3D file for creating and rendering the droplets all yourself.

Creating Water Droplets in SolidWorks

If you’re familiar with SolidWorks, the process of adding water droplets may seem a bit arduous, but it’s actually very quick and simple, especially if you already use water droplets in your models and have the models (spheres) already created. But even creating the spheres is easy–revolve a half circle around a centerline, bam, water droplet. The basic idea for applying the water to the object is to create 3D Sketches that the spheres can be patterned across using a sketch-driven pattern. Here are the files and the step-by-step.

File Download
DriesVervoort_Cup-with-droplets.step (3.6 MB STEP file)
DriesVervoort_Cup-with-droplets.ksp (16.7 MB KeyShot bundle)

Model your glass and liquid. I opted for a slight intersection of my liquid solid into the glass. Make sure that your inner and outer glass surfaces are single faces. (This makes the next steps easier).


Step 1:
Offset the outer glass surface, outward with a very small offset distance. A condensation material will be applied to this surface in KeyShot.

Step 2:
Offset the outer glass surface, inward with a very small offset distance. This surface will be used to cut the water droplet bodies later on.

Step 3:
Offset the outer glass surface, inward with a slightly larger offset. This surface will be used to sketch points on, to make patterns of water droplets.

Step 4:
Model the droplets (spheres) with varying radius. Start a 3D Sketch and place points randomly on the surface created in Step 3.

Step 5:
Use that 3D Sketch to create a pattern of droplets. Hint: Create several 3D Sketches with randomly located points for different size droplets.

Step 6:
You can also create an additional surface (offset with larger distance from outside glass surface) for droplets with larger radii. This creates a more natural, less synthetic, looking dew on the glass.

Step 7:
Cut the water droplet spheres with the offset surface that you created in Step 2. The water droplets should now intersect your glass body very slightly.

Step 8:
Create an Assembly of your cup and dew geometry. Check your settings and prepare your model (tesselation, coloring parts…) for import into KeyShot (Download available here.)




Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.